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Huddersfield Town won a dramatic Championship play-off final at Wembley over the weekend, following a penalty shootout against Reading.
It’s little more than what David Wagner’s side deserves after their efforts this season, and they now join Brighton and Newcastle in a very new-look Premier League. Huddersfield’s budget for transfers would have now increased many times overnight and no longer do they need to scour the lower leagues for talent.
That’s not to say they’ll throw big money at Premier League teams for the sake of it, but it does entitle them to compete in a market that plenty of other ‘bigger’ clubs, especially in Yorkshire, cannot afford to. Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and Leeds United would love to be in Huddersfield’s shoes right now and that is not lost on their fan base.
It is usually illogical for the fans to bluntly expect loan signings to arrive on a permanent basis. But in this case, now that promotion has been secured, I would be confident that Huddersfield can complete the following two permanent signings:
The Aussie midfielder has been in inspirational form since his loan move from Manchester City, but he is also a realist. Pep Guardiola is under pressure to improve the Citizens’ form and take them to a Premier League title and so he will feel that integrating Mooy into their squad will be too big a risk.
Mooy will be available for transfer and had Huddersfield not won the playoffs, clubs like Southampton and Newcastle would have been in pole position for his signature. With Huddersfield now a Premier League team, Mooy would be happy to stay where he knows he is happy.
The Wales international goalkeeper, fresh from saving two penalties in the shootout at Sheffield Wednesday as well as another at Wembley, is recognised by Huddersfield fans as having been crucial to their promotion this season.
Wagner has made no secret of his desire to keep Ward permanently and crucially the German has an ‘in’ with Liverpool. Wagner worked for 4 years with Reds manager Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund and so will surely be given the first refusal on the stopper.
The pertinent questions then are, a) is Klopp willing to sell and b) does the ‘keeper want to stay? The first is a sticking block, as Liverpool haven’t exactly appeared well off for goalkeeping talent. Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius have both come in for criticism so could Klopp see Ward as the solution? For his part, if Ward were offered the chance to become Liverpool no.1 then he would undoubtedly stay there.
The fact that Liverpool have qualified for the Champions League says to me that they will go out and sign a ‘keeper with relevant European experience, leaving Huddersfield free to sign Ward on a permanent deal.